General Practice and Primary Care - Research Publications

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    Have interventions aimed at assisting general practitioners in facilitating earlier diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in children been successful? A systematic review protocol
    Beccia, C ; Hunter, B ; Birkic, V ; White, M ; Manski-Nankervis, J-A (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2023-12)
    BACKGROUND: Early diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in children is critical to prevent deterioration to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a state where the body's insulin levels are critically low resulting in the use of fat for fuel and the accumulation of ketones. DKA is a life-threatening emergency where dehydration and cerebral oedema can quickly develop and lead to death. Despite treatment, DKA also has harmful impacts on cognition and brain development. Most children admitted to a hospital with DKA see their general practitioner in the week leading up to their admission. A delay in referral from general practice can result in delays in commencing lifesaving insulin therapy. Prior systematic reviews have explored publicity campaign interventions aimed at recognising type 1 diabetes earlier; however, no reviews have explored these interventions targeted at reducing the delay after presentation to the general practitioner. This systematic review aims to summarise interventions that target the diagnostic delay emerging from general practice and to evaluate their effectiveness in reducing DKA admissions. METHODS: Six databases (Ovid (MEDLINE), Web of Science, EMBASE, CINAHL, Evidence-Based Medicine Reviews (EBMR) and Google Scholar) will be searched to identify studies exploring interventions to reduce diagnostic delay in children with type 1 diabetes, and hence DKA, in general practice. The primary outcome will be the number of DKA admissions to a hospital following a delay in general practice. The secondary outcome will be the behaviour of general practitioners with respect to urgent referral of children with type 1 diabetes. Title, abstract and full-text screening for exclusion and inclusion of publications will be completed by two independent reviewers. Any risks of bias within individual studies will be assessed by two independent reviewers, using the Risk Of Bias In Non-Randomized Studies of Interventions tool. Our confidence in the overall body of evidence will be assessed using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The systematic review will be disseminated via publication and potentially in conference presentations. Ethics is not required for a systematic review of secondary data. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42023412504.
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    Video versus telephone for telehealth delivery: a cross-sectional study of Australian general practice trainees
    Fisher, K ; Tapley, A ; Ralston, A ; Davey, A ; Fielding, A ; van Driel, M ; Holliday, E ; Ball, J ; Dizon, J ; Spike, N ; Clarke, L ; Magin, P (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2023-12-20)
    BACKGROUND: Remunerated telehealth consultations were introduced in Australia in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Videoconferencing has advantages over telephone-consulting, including improved diagnostic and decision-making accuracy. However, videoconferencing uptake in Australia has been low. This study aimed to establish prevalence and associations of video versus telephone consultations in Australian general practice (GP) registrars' practice. METHODS: A cross-sectional analysis of data from 2020 to 2021 (three 6-monthly data-collection rounds) from the Registrars Clinical Encounters in Training (ReCEnT) study. GP registrars record details of 60 consecutive consultations every 6-month term, for a total of 3 terms. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression were performed within the Generalized Estimating Equations framework with the outcome video versus telephone. RESULTS: 102,286 consultations were recorded by 1,168 registrars, with 21.4% of consultations performed via telehealth. Of these, telephone accounted for 96.6% (95% CI: 96.3-96.8%) and videoconferencing for 3.4% (95% CI: 3.2-3.7%). Statistically significant associations of using videoconferencing, compared to telephone, included longer consultation duration (OR 1.02, 95% CI: 1.01-1.03 per minute; and mean 14.9 versus 12.8 min), patients aged 0-14 years old (OR 1.29, 95% CI: 1.03-1.62, compared to age 15-34), patients new to the registrar (OR 1.19, 95% CI: 1.04-1.35), part-time registrars (OR 1.84, 95% CI: 1.08-3.15), and areas of less socioeconomic disadvantage (OR 1.27, 95% CI: 1.00-1.62 per decile). CONCLUSIONS: Registrars' telehealth consultations were mostly performed via telephone. Telephone use being associated with socioeconomic disadvantage has health equity implications. Future research should explore barriers to videoconferencing use and strategies to increase its uptake.
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    Intimate partner violence exposure during infancy and social functioning in middle childhood: An Australian mother and child cohort study.
    Schulz, ML ; Wood, CE ; Fogarty, A ; Brown, SJ ; Gartland, D ; Giallo, R (Wiley, 2023-10-26)
    Social functioning of children with experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV) between caregivers in early childhood has received less attention than emotional-behavioral outcomes. Drawing on data from 1507 ten-year-old Australian-born children and their mothers participating in a community-based longitudinal study, this study examined the associations between IPV exposure during infancy and social development during middle childhood. IPV during the first 12 months of life was associated with lower social skills, higher peer problems, and peer victimization at age 10 years, while accounting for concurrent IPV. This study provides evidence for the long-term impacts of early-life IPV exposure on children's social functioning, and the importance of prevention and early intervention programs focused on social development following experiences of IPV.
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    SMARTERscreen protocol: A three-arm cluster randomised controlled trial of patient SMS messaging in general practice to increase participation in the Australian National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.
    McIntosh, J ; Emery, J ; Wood, A ; Chondros, P ; Goodwin, BC ; Trevena, J ; Wilson, C ; Chang, S ; Hocking, J ; Campbell, T ; Macrae, F ; Milley, K ; Lew, J-B ; Nightingale, C ; Dixon, I ; Castelli, M ; Fletcher, S ; Buchanan, L ; Lee, N ; Innes, L ; Jolley, T ; Broun, K ; Doncovio, S ; Austin, G ; Jiang, J ; Jenkins, MA (Research Square Platform LLC, 2023-10-16)
    Abstract Background: Australia persistently has one of the highest rates of colorectal cancer (CRC) in the world. Australia’s National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) sends a biennial Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) – the ‘NBCSP kit’ - to everyone eligible for the Program between 50-74 years old, however participation in the program is low, especially in the 50- to 60-year-old age group. Our previous efficacy trial (‘SMARTscreen’) demonstrated an absolute increase in uptake of 16.5% (95% confidence interval:2.02-30.9%) for people sent an SMS with motivational and instructional videos, from their general practice prior to receiving their NBCSP kit, compared to those receiving usual care. Building on the strengths of the SMARTscreen trial and addressing limitations, the ‘SMARTERscreen’ trial will test the effect on participation in the NBCSP of sending either an SMS only or an SMS with online video material to general practice patients due to receive their NBCSP compared to ‘usual care’. Methods: SMARTERscreen is a three-arm stratified cluster randomised controlled trial involving 63 general practices in two states in Australia. Eligible patients who are aged 49-60 years and due to receive their NBCSP kit within next two weeks during the intervention period. General practices will be equally randomised to three trial arms (21:21:21, average 260 patients/practice). The two interventions include: i) an SMS with an encouraging message from their general practice, or ii) the same SMS with web-links to additional motivational and instructional videos. The control arm will receive ‘usual care’. Using the intention-to-treat approach, primary analysis will estimate the three pair-wise between-arm differences in the proportion of eligible patients who participate in the NBCSP within 6-months of when their kit is sent, utilising screening data from the Australian National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR). Patient intervention adherence to the interventions will also be evaluated. Findings will be incorporated into the Policy1-Bowel microsimulation model to estimate the long-term health benefits and cost-effectiveness of the interventions. Discussion: SMARTERscreen will provide high-level evidence determining whether an SMS or an SMS with web-based material sent to general practice patients prior to receiving their NBCSP kit increases participation in bowel cancer screening. Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12623000036617, 13th January 2023. Trial URL: https://www.anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=385119&isClinicalTrial=False
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    Acceptability of using the Raising Awareness Tool for Endometriosis (RATE) in general practice: a mixed methods pilot study
    Frayne, J ; Milroy, T ; Rook, C ; Simonis, M ; Lam, A (WILEY, 2023-10-31)
    AIMS: The Raising Awareness Tool for Endometriosis (RATE) was developed to facilitate discussions with health providers regarding endometriosis-associated symptoms. We aim to evaluate the acceptability of the RATE by general practitioners (GP), including determining the prevalence of symptoms of women presenting to general practice and immediate management of symptoms. METHODS: A mixed-methods study was undertaken using a combination of quantitative and qualitative data in Western Australian General Practices from 2021 to 2022. A purposive sample of 12 GPs were included, who recruited women (18-50 years) on attendance for consultation over a one- to two-week period, followed by qualitative interviews exploring GPs' experiences with the tool. The quantitative and qualitative components were integrated during analysis of results. RESULTS: A total of 111 women completed the RATE (mean: 33, standard deviation: 8.6 years) prior to routine consultation. The tool was considered to be acceptable for use in general practice and aided discussions on symptoms and management. Overall, 68.5% of patients experienced pelvic pain or discomfort, with 22.4% rating that this interfered with quality of life. Of those with pelvic pain, 75% had associated chronic pain conditions, and 42.1% reported allodynia. The chronic pain questions provoked GP uncertainty. After symptoms were identified, GPs arranged individualised investigations and follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: The RATE was considered to be acceptable for use in the general practice setting. It identified symptoms and initiated discussions on possible diagnosis as well as management of endometriosis. Further GP education on identifying those women at most risk of developing chronic pain syndromes is needed.
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    Chronic disease IMPACT (chronic disease early detection and improved management in primary care project): An Australian stepped wedge cluster randomised trial
    Jones, JL ; Simons, K ; Manski-Nankervis, J-A ; Lumsden, NG ; Fernando, S ; de Courten, MP ; Cox, N ; Hamblin, PS ; Janus, ED ; Nelson, CL (SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2023)
    BACKGROUND: Interrelated chronic vascular diseases (chronic kidney disease (CKD), type 2 diabetes (T2D) and cardiovascular disease (CVD)) are common with high morbidity and mortality. This study aimed to assess if an electronic-technology-based quality improvement intervention in primary care could improve detection and management of people with and at risk of these diseases. METHODS: Stepped-wedge trial with practices randomised to commence intervention in one of five 16-week periods. Intervention included (1) electronic-technology tool extracting data from general practice electronic medical records and generating graphs and lists for audit; (2) education regarding chronic disease and the electronic-technology tool; (3) assistance with quality improvement audit plan development, benchmarking, monitoring and support. De-identified data analysis using R 3.5.1 conducted using Bayesian generalised linear mixed model with practice and time-specific random intercepts. RESULTS: At baseline, eight included practices had 37,946 active patients (attending practice ≥3 times within 2 years) aged ≥18 years. Intervention was associated with increased OR (95% CI) for: kidney health checks (estimated glomerular filtration rate, urine albumin:creatinine ratio (uACR) and blood pressure) in those at risk 1.34 (1.26-1.42); coded diagnosis of CKD 1.18 (1.09-1.27); T2D diagnostic testing (fasting glucose or HbA1c) in those at risk 1.15 (1.08-1.23); uACR in patients with T2D 1.78 (1.56-2.05). Documented eye checks within recommended frequency in patients with T2D decreased 0.85 (0.77-0.96). There were no significant changes in other assessed variables. CONCLUSIONS: This electronic-technology-based intervention in primary care has potential to help translate guidelines into practice but requires further refining to achieve widespread improvements across the interrelated chronic vascular diseases.
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    Exploring the barriers to and facilitators of implementing CanRisk in primary care: a qualitative thematic framework analysis
    Archer, S ; Donoso, FS ; Carver, T ; Yue, A ; Cunningham, AP ; Ficorella, L ; Tischkowitz, M ; Easton, DF ; Antoniou, AC ; Emery, J ; Usher-Smith, J ; Walter, FM (ROYAL COLL GENERAL PRACTITIONERS, 2023-08)
    BACKGROUND: The CanRisk tool enables the collection of risk factor information and calculation of estimated future breast cancer risks based on the multifactorial Breast and Ovarian Analysis of Disease Incidence and Carrier Estimation Algorithm (BOADICEA) model. Despite BOADICEA being recommended in National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines and CanRisk being freely available for use, the CanRisk tool has not yet been widely implemented in primary care. AIM: To explore the barriers to and facilitators of the implementation of the CanRisk tool in primary care. DESIGN AND SETTING: A multi-methods study was conducted with primary care practitioners (PCPs) in the East of England. METHOD: Participants used the CanRisk tool to complete two vignette-based case studies; semi-structured interviews gained feedback about the tool; and questionnaires collected demographic details and information about the structural characteristics of the practices. RESULTS: Sixteen PCPs (eight GPs and eight nurses) completed the study. The main barriers to implementation included: time needed to complete the tool; competing priorities; IT infrastructure; and PCPs' lack of confidence and knowledge to use the tool. Main facilitators included: easy navigation of the tool; its potential clinical impact; and the increasing availability of and expectation to use risk prediction tools. CONCLUSION: There is now a greater understanding of the barriers and facilitators that exist when using CanRisk in primary care. The study has highlighted that future implementation activities should focus on reducing the time needed to complete a CanRisk calculation, integrating the CanRisk tool into existing IT infrastructure, and identifying appropriate contexts in which to conduct a CanRisk calculation. PCPs may also benefit from information about cancer risk assessment and CanRisk-specific training.
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    The Colorectal cancer RISk Prediction (CRISP) trial: a randomised controlled trial of a decision support tool for risk-stratified colorectal cancer screening
    Emery, JD ; Jenkins, MA ; Saya, S ; Chondros, P ; Oberoi, J ; Milton, S ; Novy, K ; Habgood, E ; Karnchanachari, N ; Pirotta, M ; Trevena, L ; Bickerstaffe, A ; Lourenco, RDA ; Crothers, A ; Ouakrim, DA ; Flander, L ; Dowty, JG ; Walter, FM ; Clark, M ; Doncovio, S ; Etemadmoghadam, D ; Fishman, G ; Macrae, F ; Winship, I ; McIntosh, JG (ROYAL COLL GENERAL PRACTITIONERS, 2023-08)
    BACKGROUND: A risk-stratified approach to colorectal cancer (CRC) screening could result in a more acceptable balance of benefits and harms, and be more cost-effective. AIM: To determine the effect of a consultation in general practice using a computerised risk assessment and decision support tool (Colorectal cancer RISk Prediction, CRISP) on risk-appropriate CRC screening. DESIGN AND SETTING: Randomised controlled trial in 10 general practices in Melbourne, Australia, from May 2017 to May 2018. METHOD: Participants were recruited from a consecutive sample of patients aged 50-74 years attending their GP. Intervention consultations included CRC risk assessment using the CRISP tool and discussion of CRC screening recommendations. Control group consultations focused on lifestyle CRC risk factors. The primary outcome was risk-appropriate CRC screening at 12 months. RESULTS: A total of 734 participants (65.1% of eligible patients) were randomised (369 intervention, 365 control); the primary outcome was determined for 722 (362 intervention, 360 control). There was a 6.5% absolute increase (95% confidence interval [CI] = -0.28 to 13.2) in risk-appropriate screening in the intervention compared with the control group (71.5% versus 65.0%; odds ratio [OR] 1.36, 95% CI = 0.99 to 1.86, P = 0.057). In those due CRC screening during follow-up, there was a 20.3% (95% CI = 10.3 to 30.4) increase (intervention 59.8% versus control 38.9%; OR 2.31, 95% CI = 1.51 to 3.53, P<0.001) principally by increasing faecal occult blood testing in those at average risk. CONCLUSION: A risk assessment and decision support tool increases risk-appropriate CRC screening in those due screening. The CRISP intervention could commence in people in their fifth decade to ensure people start CRC screening at the optimal age with the most cost-effective test.
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    Identifying and responding to family adversity in Australian community and primary health settings: a multi-site cross sectional study
    Hall, T ; Constable, L ; Loveday, S ; Honisett, S ; Schreurs, N ; Goldfeld, S ; Loftus, H ; Jones, R ; Reupert, A ; Yap, MBH ; Woolfenden, S ; Montgomery, A ; Dalziel, K ; Bailey, C ; Pringle, G ; Fisher, J ; Forell, S ; Eapen, V ; Haslam, R ; Sanci, L ; Eastwood, J ; Hiscock, H (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2023-09-13)
    BACKGROUND: Unaddressed family adversity has potentially modifiable, negative biopsychosocial impacts across the life course. Little is known about how Australian health and social practitioners identify and respond to family adversity in community and primary health settings. OBJECTIVE: To describe, in two Australian community health services: (1) the number of adversities experienced by caregivers, (2) practitioner identification of caregivers experiencing adversity, (3) practitioner response to caregivers experiencing adversity, and (4) caregiver uptake of referrals. METHODS: Survey of caregivers of children aged 0-8 years attending community health services in Victoria and New South Wales (NSW). Analysis described frequencies of caregiver self-reported: (1) experiences of adversity, (2) practitioner identification of adversity, (3) practitioner response to adversity, and (4) referral uptake. Analyses were sub-grouped by three adversity domains and site. RESULTS: 349 caregivers (Victoria: n = 234; NSW: n = 115) completed the survey of whom 88% reported experiencing one or more family adversities. The median number of adversities was 4 (2-6). Only 43% of participants were directly asked about or discussed an adversity with a practitioner in the previous 6 months (Victoria: 30%; NSW: 68%). Among caregivers experiencing adversity, 30% received direct support (Victoria: 23%; NSW: 43%), and 14% received a referral (Victoria: 10%; NSW: 22%) for at least one adversity. Overall, 74% of caregivers accepted referrals when extended. CONCLUSION: The needs of Australian families experiencing high rates of adversity are not systematically identified nor responded to in community health services. This leaves significant scope for reform and enhancement of service responses to families experiencing adversity.
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    Social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Aboriginal controlled social housing.
    Brown, A ; Haregu, T ; Gee, G ; Mensah, F ; Waters, L ; Brown, SJ ; Nicholson, JM ; Hegarty, K ; Smith, D ; D'Amico, S ; Ritte, R ; Paradies, Y ; Armstrong, G (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2023-10-06)
    BACKGROUND: Little is known about the wellbeing and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in social housing. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in social housing face common social housing challenges of low income, higher incidence of mental health issues and poorer health along with specific challenges due to the impacts of colonisation and its ongoing manifestations in racism and inequity. A greater understanding of social and emotional wellbeing needs and aspirations is essential in informing the provision of appropriate support. METHODS: Surveys of social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) were completed by 95 Aboriginal people aged 16 years and older living in Aboriginal Housing Victoria social housing in 2021. The survey addressed a range of domains reflecting social and emotional wellbeing, as defined by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. RESULTS: Most respondents demonstrated a strong sense of identity and connection to family however 26% reported having 6 or more health conditions. Ill health and disability were reported to be employment barriers for almost a third of people (32%). Improving health and wellbeing (78%) was the most cited aspiration. Experiences of racism and ill health influenced engagement with organisations and correspondingly education and employment. CONCLUSION: Strong connections to identity, family and culture in Aboriginal peoples living in social housing coexist along with disrupted connections to mind, body and community. Culturally safe and appropriate pathways to community services and facilities can enhance these connections. Research aimed at evaluating the impact of strengths-based interventions that focus on existing strong connections will be important in understanding whether this approach is effective in improving SEWB in this population. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This trial was retrospectively registered with the ISRCTN Register on the 12/7/21 with the study ID:ISRCTN33665735.